Penn State athletics/courtesy
Saquon Barkley, here celebrating with Trace McSorley in the Rose Bowl, had a spectacular 85-yard touchdown on Saturday.

Preliminaries over, Penn State prepares for Iowa; more brilliance from Saquon Barkley

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And now, the main course

Joe Juliano of correctly surmises the real season begins now for Penn State, which opens Big Ten play on Saturday night at Iowa.

The Lions are back up to No. 4 in both major polls after the 56-0 thrashing of Georgia State on Saturday night — a fact noted by Land of 10’s Wayne Staats — but much is to be determined, given the way things have unfolded to date.

Saturday against Georgia State and the 52-0 rout of Akron in the season opener were barely more than glorified scrimmages. And the 33-14 victory over Pitt, uneven as it was at the time, looks worse given the fact the Panthers were walloped 59-21 by Oklahoma State on Saturday.

As Juliano writes, coach James Franklin would like to see his team play with more force on both sides of the line of scrimmage. That’s something to watch going forward, as the games get tougher and the weather colder.

Another Saquon Barkley spectacular

Mark Brennan of has the breakdown of Saquon Barkley’s spectacular 85-yard touchdown against Georgia State, from the perspective of Barkley, who stutter-stepped cornerback Chandon Sullivan before out-racing the Panthers’ defense, and that of quarterback Trace McSorley, who watched much of the play on the giant video screen at the north end of Beaver Stadium.

Heisman handicapping

Bruce Feldman of places Barkley third in his personal Heisman Trophy rankings, behind Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph, who orchestrated routs of Tulane and Pitt, respectively.

Tough assignment

Like Juliano, Mike Poorman of addressed the Big Ten opener, focusing in particular on the difficulty of playing at Iowa. Kirk Ferentz’s teams have traditionally been big and tough, and Poorman also writes that Saturday is scheduled to be a Stripe-Out for the fans in Kinnick Stadium. One other thing – the inside of the visiting locker room has for a very long time been painted pink, the thinking being that it blunts the opposing team’s aggressiveness.

Injury report (sort of)

Guard Brendan Mahon did not play against Georgia State because of an undisclosed injury, and defensive end Torrence Brown was carted off with what at first appeared to be a significant injury to his right knee in the first quarter. But as Andrew Callahan of Lions247 notes, Franklin, who never discusses the specifics of his players’ health, seemed optimistic about both after the game. Regarding Mahon, he said, “We anticipate having him back” against Iowa. And regarding Brown, Franklin said, “We are hopeful that he will be available next week.”

Laura Freigang lifts No. 8 Lions

As noted on the university’s official website, Laura Freigang scored with 42 seconds left in the second overtime as Penn State’s eighth-ranked women’s soccer team beat Illinois 1-0 on Sunday. The Lions improved to 6-2.

No. 2 field hockey team falls

Also according to the official website, Delaware’s Lisa Gieseman and Kiki Bink accounted for the match’s only goals as the No. 6 Blue Hens beat No. 2 Penn State 2-0 on Sunday. Emmeline Oltmans made 8 saves for Delaware (6-1). Penn State fell to 7-1.

Also in the Land of 10

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